「東京」 (Toukyou)

As much as it feel the show still has so much story in it left to tell, we’re definitely at the climax here. All the principles are assembled in a fittingly desolate Wasteland Tokyo for a final showdown, and on the line is a prize that’s perhaps the greatest irony the story has cooked up so far. Yet such an outcome could not be any truer to what Shin Sekai Yori has been: utterly uncompromising in its karmic irony and the cruelty that underlies our instinctive desire for survival.

I will first admit, I was fairly surprised when Saki got handed a False Minoshiro just like that, and then I started beating myself up over my obliviousness when it hit me Saki’s mom had been head librarian all this while. D’oh. Boy I wish my library had a couple of these bad boys. Energy-efficient, high memory capacity, playback features, and a GPS. And if those specs weren’t enough, it also makes for one hell of an adorable paper weight. But enough envying the things I can’t get, and let’s press on. Saki’s mom hands to her the “so secret we don’t even know there’s a secret” knowledge of the last WMD from the old civilizations, a bacteria weapon based on Anthrax and developed to specifically target psychics, with a boatload of accompanying scientific terms all flying over my head to emphasize that, yep, this thing is gonna kill, and kill good. (Oh don’t look away, I bet you microbiologists were beside yourselves with glee at this point.)

Now, this strikes me as a really interesting bit to speculate over. Why did squealer, for all his cunningness and stratagems, choose the roundabout way of raising a fiend army to destroy all humans when there was a perfect be-all-that-ends-all weapon? I scarcely believe he didn’t know about the WMD beforehand. After all, why personally pursue Saki’s group with the fiend in tow if he didn’t? The most logical speculation perhaps is that he knew of the weapon’s existence but not its location beforehand, hence the elaborate smoke and mirrors that was the invasion of the village.

Or perhaps it’s the presence of the wildcard Kiromaru, whose motives are every bit as ambiguous as we had expected them to be. (Not to mention, the guy smirks in every other scene. Red herring or not, they didn’t have to make it look that obvious.) It’s hard to discount the possibility that Kiromaru might actually be in leagues with our scheming antagonist, despite his feudal-appropriate sense of loyalty and nobility. There were many gaps in his story, such as the extremely convenient way he eluded the fiend, and we all know how coincidences aren’t what they seem in this show. And at the same time, I just can’t see him sharing the same ideological perspective as Squealer; those two were meant to be standing at opposite ends of the spectrum, and with that I cannot buy that he would sacrifice his entire colony for any kind personal gain. So where does that leave him? Kiromaru didn’t voluntarily go to Tokyo with Saki and co. purely out of nobility, and I’m suspecting there’s something in it for him, probably revenge against Squealer, waiting at the end of this path.

And then the irony piles on top of irony; Saki wonders if the fiend really is a fiend at all. Truthfully, I haven’t thought of that particular point (or more like I haven’t had time to settle down and think between episodes. You know how final year dissertations go.) but now that it has been brought up, it’s certainly something I wonder why I didn’t think about earlier. I was purely thinking in terms that no death feedback = fiends, but that simply makes them uninhibited psychics. What then becomes the definitive trait of the fiend? The irrationality and insanity? Because from what we see in this episode, these are questionable aspects of the “fiend”, who displays a certain level of awareness and intelligence. I’m half inclined to believe he had been screeching in the queerat language, (Inui’s demonstrated that, yes, the fiend responds passively to the queerat cries) and as we’ve seen in previous episodes, he follows their beckoning with little question. If there is any truth to this, you wouldn’t have much trouble imagining the utter irony of the situation; the characters had convinced themselves that regression into a fiend state was an irreversible process, and much like putting a rabid animal to sleep, they were convinced it was for the good of both fiend and human they be killed. But if that wasn’t the case, this would be a human child freed of the human’s impositions, but similarly brainwashed the values and mentality of the queerats, and thus most likely ignorant of his own actions. How can those delusional principles even apply in the same way?

In fact, it seems the show has been building towards this particular point, with the characters continuously reiterating the point Saki’s “strength” of will; first with Maria, then with Tomiko, and now again with Saki’s mom in that farewell letter, that Saki has the fortitude to endure whatever hell she is put through. And perhaps that might be what the show might come down to; would she have the strength of will to cut down a child who was as much a victim of the world as she was, and to carry that burden for the rest of her (immortal) life, in order to survive?

Fantastic art is fantastic, pretty wasteland Tokyo is pretty, awesome submarine sequence is awesome, and sweet, sweet irony all around. Had to get that in somewhere before I wrapped this post up, but like every other episode in the adult arc, it delivers in amazing ways. We’re pretty much moving at a breakneck speed now, so much so the show even has to rely on a montage, but otherwise I find little to complain about the hasty pacing; or at least it doesn’t feel like I’m missing anything essential that I couldn’t already figure out. There’s almost no reason at this point for me to doubt Shin Sekai Yori will deliver a satisfying and spectacularly tragic end.


Author’s Notes

Zephyr’s post is already up, and this was here last week as well, but for anyone who missed it, here it is again: Interested in the Shin Sekai Yori novels? I recently found there’s a movement calling for Vertical Inc. to TL and publish an English Localized Version of the novels. They’ve responded but need the interest, and want to know if they’ll be able to sell at least 4.5k copies in the US, UK and Canada. I know we’ll all like to see this happen, so what can we do? Just like/repost this tumblr article or bug the editor-in-chief with your emails to show your interest! Spread the word! Vertical also published another translated work by Shin Sekai Yori author Yusuke Kishi called The Crimson Labyrinth, so checking this out would be another way of showing support! – Check out Zephyr’s post for more info!




    1. And Shun will save the day by making a deal with Saki: Saki is to be impregnated by him and their child will go on and change the world! What a twist! Wish it actually happened though…


      1. Satoru has been shown flying at least a short distance in a previous episode – of course that may have been Saki levitating him, but he himself can fling great rocks around as if they were made of foam so surely he would be able to lift himself too. I think it’s more that they want to keep their Cantus at full strength for a potential battle with the fiend. For example, they could use Cantus to light their way, but they are using lanterns instead.

    1. Saki did learn to semi-levitate, in that episode where she was blown upwards by that fish thing that releases black smoke exploding smoke, as well as Satoru who pushed her into the sky. She did land crashing and didn’t die from insane height, can’t do that without manipulating your cantus to slow yourself down.

  1. So…a psychic specific bacterial disease.
    …and our intrepid PSYCHIC protagonists are trying to find it to save themselves and their PSYCHIC community?

    Oh boy. That…can’t end well at all.

    As for Kiromaru, fun things can happen when one feels betrayed by ones god(s). It’ll be interesting to see how this goes.

      1. It’s not contagious which is why Anthrax is a particularly effective bioweapon. You have to breath the spores and according to the blurb in this episode they are only viable for 2 days after delivery. Still it’s pretty risky and it’s obvious why this is a weapon of last resort.

      2. Actually, the false minoshiro also mentioned that the contagiousness was significantly improved to make it harder to contain an outbreak. Also, the toxity falls after 2 years, not 2 days.

        Which makes it a good thing that Yakomaru and the Fiend followed them to Tokyo. They might be able to finish them there and never risk a real outbreak.

      3. I stand corrected about the 2 days but with Anthrax an infected individual is not contagious. There are plenty of other organisms that they could use that are so Anthrax was chosen for a reason.

  2. So our final team consists of Saki, Satoru, Inui and Kiroumaru. Who will survive?

    I personally think that Inui is a dead man Kiroumaru is up in the air. I think Satoru will only die if he has to face Mamoria all by himself.

  3. This anime is incredible because it captures man’s desire to secure safety at whatever the cost- including dehumaninzing humans. Instead of working to figure out the source of the problem (what makes a fiend a fiend, and what makes a karma demon a karma demon), they take the all too easy route, dehumanize them, and then kill them off even if they really can’t be identified as a legitimate threat. It’s funny, that humans fall for the same mistake over and over again. They always focus on the weapon and never the one wielding the weapon, which results in Death Feedback and the vulnerability to fiends because of this. Humans get so scared that they seem to forget that criminals are criminals and they don’t follow the rules. Because of this they try to regulate the lives of law abiding citizens…

    It will be interesting to see how Saki resolves this issue of whether Maria’s child is just a human who grew up in unfortunate circumstances similar to hers, or whether it’s just a monster.

  4. Kiroumaru is suspicious as all hell. I really hope he isn’t helping them for his own gain, whether he’s on Squealer’s side or not, if only because he’s already been so badass in just this episode alone. Well, I guess he can simultaneously be a badass and a villain…

    It’s probably because I got too attached to Maria in the screentime she had, but damn, this shot broke my heart. Such a beautiful child, but that expression and ultimately his fate are just so sad. The high quality art this time around finally drove that home, since I wasn’t too distracted by derpy faces in this episode. Saki hypothesising that he isn’t a fiend was a major hint that he isn’t one, particularly since Satoru had that outburst that kept her from continuing her thoughts. I wonder what she was going to say had he not flipped out.

    Preview gave Inui a major death flag (IIRC), but the previews thus far have been fairly misleading in this show. Still, Shun’s voice popping up now that it’s in the homestretch was surprising and effective. I wonder if Saki will have a memory of him come back and what role it’ll serve?

  5. Somehow I never thought of Kiromaru as being someone who would betray. As for whether the boy is really a fiend, he may not be though I doubt if he’s totally sane. If he doesn’t know that he’s killing humans (he may have no idea that he is human or what the people he’s killing are), then the death feedback wouldn’t kick in. The biobomb seems like it might be one of those things thats going to require someone to set it off and sacrifice themselves in the process.

    The one thing that irritated me was that submarine with the “paddle wheels”. Totally useless underwater and seemingly serving no real purpose, assuming they can move the sub by Cantus alone.

  6. Ever since the they show us how the adults has maintained social stability by implementing all those control methods and killing of potential dangerous children, I have waited for the day when a child they failed to kill come back to give them what they sow. It is disappoint Maria and Mamoru have to die to make this come true. I just wish that girl from the education department survive the attack of the queerats so she can be killed by Maria and Mamoru’s child instead. And I dont mind a slowly suffering death for Squealer either.

  7. I think that the mole rats somehow got a hold of a false minoshiro and that they actually captured Maria and Mamoru, forced them to have a kid and killed them then raised their kid to be a Fiend or w.e with the knowledge of the false minoshiro.

    I do think that kiromaru is a traitor and is working for Yakomaru. I’m really interested to how Yakomaru got the false minoshiro in the first place and how Saki is going to deal with this.

    1. What if I tell you that the both of them still lives on but had their bodies mutilated and their minds lobotomized and serve as nothing more but sex slaves to each other producing more and more Mamoria? … Now that is a disturbing though.


      1. OK, just so that people notice, there has been a disturbing pattern (not everywhere, but frequent enough for me to notice) of comments like this which basically engage in violent sexual fantasies of Maria (of her being raped by queerats, of her being made a sex slave, of her forcibly being impregnated) and then barely–just barely–conceal them with an afterthought of revulsion, as if the revulsion in a person’s word choice somehow deflected from the fact that they took a plot point (Maria had a baby) and intensely sexualized it and projected onto it some pretty sexist fantasies about sexual domination.

        Can we, maybe, stop doing this?

      2. @G
        I think your comment is in line with the people who complained about the yaoi elements in the show.There has been plenty of disturbing things in the show and people offered opinions on each of them, if you’re personally offended by these particular opinions then that’s mostly your issue not the people posting here.

        Since we don’t still know what happened to Maria and Mamoru, people are going to speculate on it and because it involves their child, stuff like sex and impregnation are obviously going to come up.And whether you like it or not, most of the things you bashed in your post are an actual possibility at this point.Personally I find it more disturbing that you would consider this a fantasy for anyone.
        Btw, I couldn’t help but notice how you completely ignored Mamoru’s involvement in all this.

  8. I keep hoping that Kiromaru isn’t going to betray them and join Yakomaru or something… I definitely don’t think they’re on the same team since they both probably have different agendas. Not sure where that leaves Saki and Satoru though… hopefully not for dead. I’d hate to see Satoru make it all this way and then killed off =( I’m so anxious for the next episode now!! >_<

  9. I’m pretty sure that smirk Kiroumaru has is just a red herring. If you think back to the episode where Shun first showed his Cantus leakage in class, you’ll remember that Shun had the exact same smirk on his face after Shisei fled, even though that made absolutely no sense in light of what we learned of Karma Demons in later episodes (i.e. that they’re usually very kind, and don’t want to hurt those around them).

  10. As far as the definition of a fiend goes, it has been very clear since the episode with the first false Minoshiro that fiends are not simply humans who can kill other humans, or else that would make every human with Cantus before the introduction of death feedback a fiend, which is not the case. It simply refers to a person with Cantus who goes crazy (maybe because of some side effect of the Cantus itself) and starts killing indiscriminately. The incident with Boy “K” that Tomiko talked about many episodes back should show how absolutely insane and uncontrollable a fiend is.

    In fact, this distinction is important enough that I feel that anyone who didn’t grasp this point was probably getting a very different understanding of the past few episodes than they should have.

  11. Ah, things are really starting to get in full gear with this last part! I really hope they don’t just kill yakomaru as soon as they see him though, we need one last, long, SSY-style exposition from him to close out this story.

  12. I think been pretty obvious for at least the last 2 episodes that the ‘fiend’ is not a fiend. He is simply a child that has been raised among queerats (probably with no mirrors as well) and sees himself as a queerat instead of a human. That way the death feedback would only trigger if he killed queerats, leaving him free to kill humans. Remember the battle where Kiroumaru’s soldiers were wiped out? The ‘fiend’ did not kill the queerats, but simply disarmed them.

    As to Kiroumaru’s ‘smirk’, to me it looks more like the ‘grin’ of a staffordshire bull terrier and is simply a feature of his species.

  13. It’s pretty obvious that even more than the virus Kiromaru is the biggest threat for Yakomaru. If he catches the “fiend” alone and unaware he’ll most likely be able to kill him in an instant and that’s way easier than going into that hell to find a virus.

  14. Everything they’ve been through already to survive and during that one scene you could almost see Saki willing to accept the brutal destruction of humanity at the hands of a queer rat/fiend army because she was NOT going to walk through poop and bugs.

  15. I’m a microbiologist… I’m actually a little disappointed about the stuff they said about anthrax… that was info you get from Mic101… I think they could have gone deeper into it. I just don’t get how they can turn the toxin to only affect psychics.

    1. I didn’t hear them saying its a pk specific anthrax, more like unlike physical weapons like arrows or guns that can be easily seen therefore blocked, anthrax is invisible to the naked eye. Therefore infection to target host is easier as they won’t see it coming. The concept is similar to the poisoned water the Queer Rats fed to the humans during the festival.

    2. Most likely not PK-specific, but rather that it’s specifically difficult for a PK to purge it from their body.

      Remember with Shun, he took the poison, but managed to unconsciously neutralize it to keep it from killing him. We also know that the ability to manipulate complex microscopic living material (eg: telomeres) is also extremely difficult (only Tomiko and presumably Saki can do so; Shisei couldn’t).

      Thus: a deadly microorganism that’s difficult or impossible for the PKs to cure themselves of before it can kill them.

      The lack of easy contagion also makes it easier to use as a small-scale weapon. Though guess what happens when a PKer trying to cure himself manages to mutate it enough to make it contagious? Fun times.

  16. As for why to go and create the fiend. Well, the toxin can’t be produced without the bacterial strain. As far as what I understood from the episode, what they are looking for is the toxin (which can be dry out into a powder). So, Yakomaru probably knew that the only thing left was the toxin and not the bacteria strain (after so many years I doubt that the bacteria would survive) and because of that they would have only a limited supply, which would work for a single fiend… but not for a country full with psychs. So, he needed something to conquer the country with and that was an army of unlimited powerful fiends.

    1. Well, we need to know how Yakomaru became that smart.. Mutation? Of course, he must have a Minishiro or some Human with great knowlentgh. But it was never explained that how he became that smart…

      He must found the “lost library of Alexandria”

  17. Well, why the Death Feedback not working for the Fiend?

    My Explanation. The Fiend only see the Queerrats as “Humans”. and the Real Humans are just “low life forms”… like Animals today..

    So some sort of Brainwashing. So the Guard Effect dont trigger, because his Brain dont set the Alarm on…

    1. The first point wouldn’t make sense. How else would the fiend have killed the entire giant hornet colony if he sees queerats as “humans”? Although the second point sounds possible, that the humans are being viewed as humans at all.

      1. He just Disarmed the Enemy Queerrats. Or there are Two Fiends on the Field. We saw someone other at the Hospital. Perhaps they could turn one of His Parents into a Fiend, too

      2. Well Death Feedback isn’t a purely “magical” trait (it’s specifically said to be genetic engineering, not any kind of Cantus poisoning).

        Where that probably leaves it is that Feedback is related to your sense of identity, which isn’t as solid as we believe. For example, if you play a video game, especially one where you customize your character, it triggers the same sense of self accomplishment centers in the brain as if you scored high on a test or got a new job. Despite being a purely virtual creation, it is still your sense of “identity” and that seems the most likely place any death feedback would take its cues from. This would actually explain why killing Queerats would injure someone who is generally a pacifist, like a monk, yet the extermination squad only figured it would take five guys to wipe out hundreds of thousands of them, because extermination squad members are probably not the most “racially sensitive” Humans (it also explains why images of Humans trigger death feedback. If it goes one way, it can just as easily move the goalposts in the other direction).

        Thus, any child who has never even -seen- a Human before the war, who is also doped on drugs, it could be very plausible to say that because the Fiend sees himself as Queerat, only killing Queerats would affect him. Remember, he only disarmed the Green Hornets, he didn’t personally kill any of them, and it may have been to protect him.


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